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Oar-some effort as China returns to rowing's elite

By SUN XIAOCHEN | China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-29 09:05
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Chen Yunxia, Zhang Ling, Lyu Yang and Cui Xiaotong power their way to gold-medal glory during the women's quadruple sculls final at the Tokyo Olympics regatta on Wednesday. REUTERS

Guided by British legend Steve Redgrave, the Chinese rowing team has propelled its way back to the pinnacle of the Western-dominated sport thanks to its gold-bronze combo at the Tokyo Olympics regatta on Wednesday.

Thirteen years after claiming the country's first Olympic rowing gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games, Chinese rowers again proved that they have what it takes to succeed in the grueling sport by winning the women's quadruple sculls and taking a bronze in the men's double sculls on the same day at the Tokyo Games.

Despite windy conditions at Sea Forest Waterway, the Chinese crew of Chen Yunxia, Zhang Ling, Lyu Yang and Cui Xiaotong dominated the final, smoothly pulling away from their rivals on the 2-kilometer course to finish in 6 minutes and 5.13 seconds and clinch gold in the same event as the triumphant 2008 Chinese crew.

Their spectacular performance also set a world-best time, shaving nearly two seconds off the previous mark, set by Germany in 2014. China remains the only non-European nation to win Olympic gold in women's quadruple sculls.

Poland (6:11.36) won the battle for silver after finishing more than six seconds behind Team China, while Australia took bronze in 6:12.08.Defending champion Germany could only finish fifth.

In sculling events, rowers use two oars, while in the sweep discipline athletes row with a single oar.

China's triumphant quartet, who won the event at the 2019 world championships, said that despite their huge margin of victory, winning was far from easy.

"It may seem like we won it easily, but the effort we put in during our prolonged preparations due to the COVID-19 pandemic was not easy at all," said Lyu, a 27-year-old Henan native.

"With this gold medal today, it feels like all the not-so-easy experiences have become easy," Lyu added, much to the amusement of her crewmates

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